By Emma Grace Howlett ‘25
There is perhaps no greater view on campus of the San Gabriel Mountains than from Pomona’s turf soccer field. During late spring nights, the snow-dusted mountains glow a dusky pink as the colorful sunset arches rosily across the sky. It is in this scenic setting that the 5Cs women’s club soccer team practices twice a week. Composed of students from all the 5Cs, playing club soccer is a great way to meet people from other schools, stay active, and feel like part of the greater consortium community.
While I wasn’t looking to make the time commitment of a varsity player, I still wanted to keep soccer a part of my life. Having played the beautiful game since first grade, I was not ready to give up the friendly competition and camaraderie of being on a soccer team. Claremont FC seemed the perfect compromise, as we practice twice a week with games on weekends. This relatively low level of commitment allowed me to balance other interests like the Pomona College Choir and Glee Club as well as my classes, while maintaining a high level of competition on the field. During my first semester last fall, I started going to club soccer practices as a practice player, meaning I would not play in games. Even though I wasn’t a member of the rostered team, the captains were so welcoming and generous, making sure that everyone felt included and valued as a part of the greater team. We had team dinners every few weeks, which gave us opportunities to socialize outside of practice, and strengthen our friendships. When I made the rostered team, I was finally able to play in games again for the first time since before the pandemic. As we often play against much larger schools such as USC or UC Riverside, we are used to being underdogs who play with heart and perseverance.
We recently had our last game of the spring semester, meaning it was time to say goodbye to our seniors, two of whom were our captains. Being without a coach, our captains stepped up to the role, planning practices, running drills, and organizing substitutions during games. At half time, we had mediated discussions about what we could improve, which promoted an inclusive, democratic, respectful atmosphere. After giving our seniors a celebratory send-off, complete with flowers and decorated hand-written posters, we ended our final game with teary hugs all around. I am so grateful to have been part of a team that values community building just as much as competition. I now have friends across all five campuses who will support me on and off the field as true teammates do. Go CFC!